Celebrities have declared themselves feminists since long before the invention of Tumblr and other forms of social media that've helped the movement grow (After all, was it not the second-wave’s patron saint, Gloria Steinem, who once said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"?). And whether the women at the forefront are celebrity feminists or not, many of the world’s most powerful women (and men!) have called themselves as such. To be clear, the definition of the "f-word" isn’t about despising men or frequenting rallies — rather, a feminist is, to put it simply, anyone who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of women and men. So whether you’re politically active or not, you probably qualify by that definition. When the word is stripped away of connotations, aren’t we we’re all feminists at heart?
So whether you're a believe you're a Bad Feminist or feel that Feminism is for Everybody, it's clear that We Should All Be Feminists. (That was mostly just an excuse to put Roxane Gay, bell hooks, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the same sentence.) In the spirit of equality everywhere, here’s an A-Z guide of celebrity feminist quotes you might’ve skipped over.
Adele: “I believe that everyone should be treated the same, including race and sexuality."
Among the many times Adele re-won our hearts during her Rolling Stone cover interview this month was the moment she asked the interviewer, "Will you ask me if I'm a feminist? I don't think many men in interviews get asked if they're feminist. [...] I'm a feminist."
Beyonce: “Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another."
In the Shriver Report essay she penned last year, entitled "Gender Equality is a Myth!", the one and only Queen Bey asked, "So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
Claire Danes: “I am a feminist. And I’m so glad that Lena Dunham exists, because she is one too, and she’s quite vocal about it."
Danes contends that while women have earned more rights and freedoms than ever before, it’s far from an equal playing field. "It’s just not. It’s really f*cking crazy," she said in a Glamour interview. "I’m sorry I’m cursing. But it’s wild that women are underrepresented [in Hollywood]. I have real anxiety about directing, and that’s something to question and challenge and correct.”
The Dalai Lama: “I call myself a feminist. Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?”
That and so much more goodness from the iconic figure from his September 2009 speech at the National Civil Rights Museum.
Emma Watson: "When, at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn't want to appear 'muscley'; When, at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist."
Watson's legendary 2014 Speech at the UN raised so, so many great points.
Florence Welch: “I definitely consider myself a feminist and it matters. The idea of what a feminist is is changing."
The Florence + the Machine frontwoman has always been vocal about the people she holds dear, and in an interview with Macleans, she opened up about the roots of her success, stating, "I have so many strong women in my life... It is humbling to listen to strong women and it makes me realize my capacity. I had to go through this as I was making the record. Through advice from other women, I felt like I [gained] more strength.”
Grimes: “I’m sad that my desire to be treated as an equal and as a human being is interpreted as hatred of men, rather than a request to be included and respected."
In a stream-of-consciousness style Tumblr post, Grimes, who has four brothers and "many male best friends," assures her readers and fans that just because she's a feminist doesn't make her a misandrist, nor does she believe that all men are sexist.
Hayley Williams: “I read a couple comments today about how I can't be feminist or whether or not I'm a 'good' feminist.’ I'm a 26-year-old person. And yes, a proud feminist. Just maybe not a perfect one?"
The Paramore singer took to Tumblr to set the record straight on some of her song lyrics being misconstrued as misogynistic.
Isla Fisher: "Yes. I do consider myself to be a feminist."
When asked by Entertainment Weekl y to comment whether "chick flicks" (like her film Confessions of a Shopaholic) send the message that "all women want is a big wedding and a Gucci handbag," the actress SAID, "That’s a complicated topic. Am I disappointed occasionally by the lack of irony in some movies? Yes. And I do believe that Rebecca Bloomwood is a complete woman. She doesn’t spend the entire movie dreaming about getting a guy."
Jenny Slate: “Am I a feminist? F*ck yeah, I’m a feminist."
In a recent sit-down with MTV News, the comedian and actress said, “I think that unfortunately people who are maybe threatened by feminism think that it’s about setting your bra on fire and being aggressive, and I think that’s really wrong and really dangerous.” Welcome to the sisterhood, J.
Kristen Stewart: "It's a really ridiculous thing to say you're not a feminist."
When asked her thoughts on Millennial feminism by The Daily Beast, Kristen Stewart was not only dead-on, but honest about her own experiences: "Relating it to my one little avenue, people say, 'If you want to make it in the film industry as a woman, you have to be a bitch.' No, you are going to ruin any chance you have and give us a bad name. It's the overcompensation to where our generation goes, 'Relax,' because it's been easier for us, and because we don't have as much of the anger, so it's like we can't get behind it and it's a bit embarrassing."
Lena Dunham: “Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve."
There is perhaps no feminist more vocal in millennial pop culture right now than the Girls creator and star, who has used her platform to advocate for Planned Parenthood, women's rights, and more. To clarify some of the prevalent taboos surrounding feminism, she told Metro U.K ., "Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist."
Matt McGorry: "Being a feminist is for both women AND men. I AM A FEMINIST."
Everyone's favorite guard on Orange is the New Black took to Facebook to post, "I'm embarrassed to admit that I only recently discovered the ACTUAL definition of 'feminism.’ He has since been vocal about his stance in interviews and on Mic editor Liz Plank's show, "Flip the Script."
Nora Ephron: Just read this essay about her work on The Guardian.
Seriously. Or anything she's ever written.
Oprah: "I never did consider or call myself a feminist, but I don’t think you can really be a woman in this world and not be."
Watch her 2013 MAKERS documentary. All of it. Because Oprah. Because OWN. Just do it. You know it'll spiritually better you, at least moreso than your weird mason jar boards on Pinterest ever could.
Patricia Arquette: “It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
The actress's well-regarded acceptance speech at the Oscars, in addition to highlighting the significance of equal pay, also elicited perhaps the greatest reaction gif anyone could've dreamed of compliments of Meryl Streep.
Queen Latifah: "Instinct leads me to another flow\ Everytime I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho\Trying to make a sister feel low\You know all of that gots to go."
The inimitable Queen L exploded onto the scene over two decades ago with her unique musical sensibilities, which often played on gender stereotypes. Her 1993 anthem, "U.N.I.T.Y.", perhaps more so than any other female-performed song of the time, called out rap's blatant misogyny.
Rashida Jones: "I would [call myself a feminist], yes. I believe in the unadulterated advancement of women."
Jones has been an outspoken and articulate leader in the push to support women on-screen and off, and speaking about where to go next on The Conversation, she said, "I do think because women are so clever and flexible and such good communicators, it been hard for men to evolve and keep up. I think we could do a little better to help them out."
Sheryl Sandberg: "I'm a feminist because I believe in women… it's a heavy word, feminism, but it's not one I think we should run from. I'm proud to be a feminist."
Despite or perhaps because of the success of her bestselling "feminist manifesto slash memoir" (her words), Lean In, the Facebook COO is no stranger to controversy. At the end of the day, though, whether you agree with her views or not, Sandberg is a feminist, and is helping to pave the way for a future where, she told NPR, "if my son chooses to be a stay-at-home parent, he is cheered on for that decision. And if my daughter chooses to work outside the home and is successful, she is cheered on and supported."
Taylor Swift: “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities."
Although the singer admitted to The Guardian that "the way it was phrased in culture [and] society" led her to at first mistakenly equate feminism with misandry, Swift credits her friendship with Lena Dunham for helping her "realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”
Uzo Aduba: "26.2 miles to me feels like a hill compared to the mountain that not only my friends and family have fought and are fighting every day."
Regarding her decision to run a marathon to raise money for breast cancer research, the Orange is the New Black star told Women's Health, "I have seen these women who are intelligent, smart, fighting, strong, convicted, focused women who gave the fight of their life for their life every single day to live and to be with their families, to be with their kids, to be with us, to be with me. And so that's a mountain compared to what I'm being asked to do right now." In the past, the actress has been vocal about sticking to her guns when it comes to matters close to her heart, from her refusal to change her non-"American" name for Hollywood to her sensitive treatment of the character that made her famous, "Crazy Eyes."
Vera Wang: “I am a feminist. When I stop and think about it, there's no other way I can label myself. I am for women."
In a 2010 book, the bridal designer admitted that while she feels some designers are out of step with "women and women's needs," she prides herself on "respect[ing] other women, and my clothes show it. I'm not making fun of them or trying to degrade them or make them feel silly. I'm trying, if anything, to make them be at their very best."
Will Smith: “When you have a little girl, it's like, how can you teach her that you're in control of her body?... She has got to have command of her body so when she goes out into the world, she's going out with a command that is hers."
In a revealing interview with Parade , Smith emphasized the importance of allowing her daughter to make her own decisions when it comes to her hair. Otherwise, he answered, "If I teach [Willow] that I'm in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she's going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world... We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.”
Xtina Aguilera: “I was always unfairly judged my entire life, I think every woman at one point or another has been called a bitch and If I'm a bitch then I'm a bitch.”
From "Get Mine, Get Yours" (revolutionary — a Britney-era pop star singing about sex, people!) to "Can't Hold Us Down," her down-and-dirty feminist clapback with Lil' Kim, there was never any doubt that Xtina is all about the girl power, as shown in this Fuse interview.
Yoko Ono: "This society is driven by neurotic speed and force accelerated by greed, and frustration of not being able to live up to the image of men and woman we have created for ourselves; the image has nothing to do with the reality of people."
Say what you will about her, but Yoko is about as OG as it gets in the contemporary feminist art community, as shown by this Washington Post quote. Her 1971 manifesto, "The Feminization of Society," and her art at large, remain as resonant today as they ever were.
Zooey Deschanel: "We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f*cking feminist and wear a f*cking Peter Pan collar. So f*cking what?"
<img width="624" alt="34 Celebrity Responses To Make You Goddamn Proud To Be A Woman" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Aw1opgzVNUHsyS73x9bmpJX7KiKfcXzSnCFmBgOfRRqN457Ph_Pl-ZD74E7HOqcPgn_xgrtBLDNUFvXFHPGtAwuPRl7KLvRNb22noCWsoqMkiEurnDNSgAzMlvINNjBPqQdkV2Tu" height="351" class="article-body-image" title="Image: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Aw1opgzVNUHsyS73x9bmpJX7KiKfcXzSnCFmBgOfRRqN457Ph_Pl-ZD74E7HOqcPgn_xgrtBLDNUFvXFHPGtAwuPRl7KLvRNb22noCWsoqMkiEurnDNSgAzMlvINNjBPqQdkV2Tu"/>
While the legendary Manic Pixie Dream Girl has been criticized for her views in the past, Deschanel told Glamour , with trademark bravado, "I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say."
A huge "hell yeah" to all of the celebs above.
Images: giphy (26)